For Immediate Release
Mary Boyle (202)736-5770
Senate Vacancies Should Be Filled by Special Elections, Common Cause Tells Congress
WASHINGTON - Common Cause President and CEO Bob Edgar testified Wednesday
before a joint House and Senate Judiciary panel in support of a
resolution proposing a constitutional amendment that would require that
states hold elections to fill Senate vacancies.
"We believe the Constitution should be amended rarely and with great
care, but election of our representatives in Congress is one of those
issues that crosses that threshold," Edgar told the Senate Judiciary's
Subcommittee on the Constitution and the House Judiciary's Subcommittee
on the constitution, civil rights and civil liberties.
In the wake of the 2008 elections, which saw multiple governors making
appointments to fill Senate vacancies - Illinois, New York, Delaware,
among them -- Edgar said: "Our democracy is based on elections, not
selections by a single person. Now is the time to address this issue,
while the problems of the status quo are so apparent. We cannot simply
wait for the next Senate vacancy and hope that the governor making the
appointment will act with honor and transparency in naming someone to
represent that state in the U.S. Senate. This proposed constitutional
amendment will help ensure that a fundamental tenet of our democracy -
that the will of the people is most effectively made known through
elections of their representatives - is adhered to in the selection of
the members of the U.S. Senate."
Common Cause is a nonpartisan, nonprofit advocacy organization founded in 1970 by John Gardner as a vehicle for citizens to make their voices heard in the political process and to hold their elected leaders accountable to the public interest.